Lost (and found) in translation

We’ve been in our Guanajuato home for a week and a half now. Although our Spanish improves a bit every year, occasionally we still find ourselves tangled in a web of confusion. Like this.

Me to Jack last evening: I think we should invite Antonio and Eloisa and the family here for Christmas dinner.

Jack: But, they already invited us. Twice. We said we’d let them know.

Me: I don’t think so. They just asked what we were doing. We said we didn’t know.

Jack: I’m sure they’re expecting us. Eloisa was talking about what to serve.

Me: No, she was just talking about what’s traditional to serve here.

So…are we or are we not invited there for Christmas dinner? If so, it would seem odd—if not rude—to extend an invitation to them. Though I’d kind of like to cook a turkey…

Ambiguous text message to Eloisa this morning: Would you prefer to have Christmas dinner here or at your house? I can prepare a traditional turkey if you like.

Within moments, my cell phone rings. It’s Eloisa. The following is my rough (and, please God, roughly accurate) translation of what transpired—though on the telephone, I’m never quite sure.

Eloisa: About your message.

Me: What do you think?

Eloisa: A turkey is really big. Do you really want turkey?

Me: We love turkey. But the question is, where?


Me (confession time): Ok. Here’s what happened. I told Jack we should invite you. He thinks you’ve already invited us. I don’t know what to do.


Me: Do you want to have dinner together?

Eloisa: Yes!

Me: Ok, if you were going to include others, we’ll have it at your house. But if it’s just our two families, let’s have it here. I’ll make a traditional turkey dinner.

Eloisa: Ok.

Me: Ok which? Were you inviting others?

Eloisa: No.

Me: Ok. Here then. So, that’s Sunday at…

Eloisa: No, it’s Saturday.

Me: No, Sunday is the 25th.

Eloisa: Saturday is the 24th. That’s when the dinner is.

Me: Not for us. For us, it’s the 25th.

Laughter until it hurts.

Me: Come Saturday.

Eloisa: What can I bring?

Me: Something traditional. Tamales?

And so…Looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner with our Mexican family.…And turkey soup to follow.




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2 Responses to Lost (and found) in translation

  1. Mary Ross says:

    Paula, This is a great story. Congrats for meeting this dilemma head on. Love to have some tomales myself


  2. katie hayhurst says:

    Loved it, too, Paula. I really relate to that story. Enjoy the leftovers. And have a very Merry Christmas! k&d

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